A new study from researchers based in London, Ont., finds exercise is comparable to caffeine in boosting working memory.
The study, published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports and conducted at Western University’s Exercise and Health Psychology Laboratory, found that exercise may also be able to reduce the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal.
Working memory refers to the ability to store and manipulate information in the present.
A news release on the study explains that examples of working memory include remembering items on a grocery list after having travelled to a grocery store or recalling how each royal is related to one another on The Crown while binge-watching Season 3.
In the study, researchers compared one bout of aerobic exercise — about a 20-minute brisk walk on a treadmill — with a dose of caffeine equivalent to about one cup of coffee.
Researchers found that in both caffeine consumers and non-caffeine consumers, exercise compared favourably to caffeine in boosting working memory.
Data from the study also found similar bouts of exercise may have the ability to reduce the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal, including headaches, fatigue and crankiness.
“If people experience withdrawal, an acute, brisk walk may reduce some of the symptoms,” said Anisa Morava, a graduate student who collaborated on the research.